Lack of extension of administrative progress

  Lack of extension of administrative progress
85. During the past fifty years remarkable administrative progress has been made in the textile industries
in the more highly industrialized countries, such as the
United States. The organization of labour has been perfected, its functions have become more highly specialized, and the methods of working are more efficient.
Training has been intensified, the work-loads have been
determined by rational systems; and, in short, there has
been a substantial reduction in the amount of labour required for the production of one kilogramme of yarn or
fabric. Methods have also been evolved for controlling
the quality of the product, the efficiency of the processes,
the waste of raw materials, manufacturing costs, and
the yield of the workers, so that it is possible to locate
and correct systematically all the causes contributing to
low productivity, defective quality and wastage of resources.
86. The failure of management to progress in the
Latin-American mills is difficult to explain because many
factors are involved, some of them connected with the
human element itself. Broadly speaking, it may be said
that administrative backwardness is due to the combination of: (1) the lack or inefficiency of media for the
spreading of technical knowledge;

 (2) the absence of
conditions which would encourage the manufacturers
to seek such knowledge, and to attempt to replace present
.. .'""/This does not. imply that the attitude of the manufacturers
can be ascribed to their having solved the purely financial probr
•lem of choosing between investing capital in administrative improvements, or alternatively, of continuing to pay wages to an
excessive supply of labour, since there have been very few manorganization by a better system, based on stricter controls and the employment of a minimum amount of labour ; and (3) special circumstances created by economic
forces or trade union stipulations, which limit the administrative action of the manufacturer.
87. The typical method of spreading knowledge regarding the textile industry and the limited management
techniques that are used in the Latin-American mills,
is direct transmission from practical textile experts —
most of them foreigners—to apprentices or subordinates.
In the majority of cases, this method has its difficulties
and limitations, mainly because this information has been
given a tone of secrecy, making it appear that it can only
be acquired after long years of experience. There are
very few textile schools, and those which do exist have
been opened very recently. Many of them are exclusively for the purpose of training workers, and those
which have courses for engineers or technicians place
more stress on specific textile knowledge than on administrative techniques. Textile literature, especially in Portuguese or Spanish, is scarce and rarely deals with subjects connected with the administrative organization of
the mills. It would seem that the only existing means of
obtaining any knowledge of textile management, apart
from studying in countries where the techniques have
been developed, is the calling in of foreign consultants,
of which there are not many, and which proves to be a
costly business for the many small mills spread over
Latin America.

 Undoubtedly, these deficiencies in the
means of spreading knowledge have contributed to the
backwardness of industry, especially as they have combined with other factors which, as shown below, have
hampered the modernization of administrative methods.
88. The lack of incentive to modernize organization
derives principally from the relatively low cost of labour,
to which reference has already been made. This leads
the manufacturer to assign very few units of equipment
per worker, not only to ensure a high output from the
machinery—a very important consideration—but also
to avoid the inherent problems of establishing strict controls, intensive supervision, the training of unskilled
personnel and, above all, the readjustment or displacement of labour.48

The lack of proportion in the measures adopted to
protect industry, in order to compensate only the constitutional deficiency of the factors, has also limited any
incentive there might be to reduce costs and to improve
the quality of the products.
90. Certain circumstances, which in some cases are
the cause and in others the consequence of the factors
outlined above, have arisen that hamper administrative
progress, though to some extent they also influence
stagnation in matters of equipment. The most important
of these is labour resistance to any change which may
involve its displacement. It is principally, encountered
in the rigidity of certain labour contracts, which require
not only the immovability of labourers as individuals, but
also the perpetuation of their occupations, despite the
fact that technical and management progress may rènder their tasks unnecessary. Another feature often con^
agers or owners who have had all the necessary data with which
to consider the matter from a technical standpoint. On the contrary, it. might be said that they have followed the line of least
resistance. . ,
Chapter I. Productivity in the ; Group of Countries Visited 13
taihed in these contracts is that of a- fixed ratio between
Wages and production, neutralizing any iricèntive the
manufacturer may have to introduce more specialized
working methods, or mechanical modifications, which
would increase the number of units which each worker
can handle.49
91. Labour resistance, however, should not be held
exclusively responsible for the low productivity of the
backwardness of the textile industry. It is merely a
symptom of the real cause, which is far more important
and fundamental, namely, the limitèd capacity of the
Latin-American countries to invest in undertakings capable of absorbing personnel displaced by technological
progress. Administrative improvements in the textile
industry demand the flexibility of the labour contracts,
but for this to occur, it is necessary to organize the
migration of textile labour to other centres of activity,
which, by reason of their development, are in a position
to offer work to displaced textile labour. The indemnities paid to discharged workers would be an internal
means of solving a specific problem in the factories, but
they do not modify the general condition causing labour
resistance to modernization.
92. The evident difficulty in changing established customs and breaking down traditions, which have prevailed since the beginning of the century, has also served
to check the contraction of the amount of labour employed, though this must at least partly result from
favourable conditions for stagnation, as was mentioned
previously. The state of Rio de Janeiro and the Federal
District, in Brazil, are probably the best examples of
the persistence of traditional organization of labour.
Since the majority of the factories are very large and
have been established at some distance from the towns,
they now form important communities which depend
both economically and socially on the mills. The owners,
who are fully convinced of the importance of labourmanagement relationships, have for many years sought
to surround their employees with all the social benefits
which develop a sentiment of attachment to the factory
and to the community. The offspring of the workers
from an early age are trained for factory work, and it
is likely that their entry in the mill depends principally
on the fact that they belong to a social body organized
for the industry and the community. This is especially
noticeable in the case of female labour, whose ability to
find work outside this community is naturally more
restricted. The fact that some of the mills have textile
schools for the children of their workers tightens the
bonds uniting the community and its source of labour,
and tends to direct labour to an occupation which already
has an excess thereof.
93. In view of the fact that the backwardness of the
textile mills is closely linked with factors which depend
on the low degree of economic development in the LatinAmerican countries, and that it is impossible for the
industry to postpone its modernization until a higher
49 The following example for Mexico illustrates this point
well : since 1912

, it has been established that each card tender
should work eight cards. Certain simple attachments and changes
in organization have made it possible for one worker to tend
forty cards without undue effort. If the Mexican manufacturer
were to establish this work-load, and if he could discharge the
surplus tenders, he would have to pay one man five times his
phase of development Creates favourable factors, it is
recommended that the modernization of existing industry be incorporated in the plans of industrial development, and that deliberate and systematic action be taken
to encourage its improvement, both in matters of equipment and management.
. 94. Since one of the important problems in the improvement of the textile industry is that of transferring
displaced labour to other productive activities,

 it is'recommended that an effort be made, as soon as possible,
to direct the migration of the younger sectors of labour
Which are normally absorbed by the textile industry to
other industries where labour is not abundant. There
are prospects of achieving this goal by establishing
schools for the children of the textile workers, where
they may specialize in different branches of industry.50
This may likewise be accomplished by modifying the
aims of some of the existing schools, so that, instead of
training new textile workers, they improve the training
of those already engaged in industry. Later, and in coordination with other projects of industrial development,
the migration of textile workers to new sources of employment must be organized.
95. To promote greater flexibility of certain labour
contracts, which at present hinder the reorganization of
industry. Because the rigidity of these contracts arises
from the fear of unemployment, their modifications will
have to be based on a guarantee of employment for labour in industries other than textile, and labour's readaptation to such new occupations. This will perforce
require the co-ordination of textile modernization with
plans for development of other industries.
96. To stimulate the establishment of more schools
for textile engineers and technicians in which, further
to the courses commonly associated with textile education, stress will be particularly laid on management
97. To promote the diffusion of certain technical
knowledge which has not been generally divulged, due
to the lack of adequate methods for its dissemination.
One of the most effective means of obtaining this objective would be to approach experts with a request that
they prepare manuals for the spreading of knowledge
on the following subjects, in a manner which can be
used directly by the Latin-American factories:
(a) Organization of labour and determination of
(b) Methods of quality control;
(c) Methods of waste control ;
(d) Determination of standard costs and simplified
methods of cost control;
(e) Methods of controlling labour productivity and
the efficiency of the processes;
(/) Standard specifications for the construction of
textile factory buildings, machinery and mill layouts,
fire protection, optimum size of mills, lighting, humidification and systems of internal transport, which aid the
salary and pay an indemnity to the other four displaced. His
investment in the attachments and his effort to modernize the
working methods would not, therefore, be compensated by a
reduction in costs.
50 An important textile factory in northern Mexico has already
established a school for the offspring of its workers, where they
are taught to handle agricultural machinery.
14 Productivity of the Cotton Textile Industry in Latin America
manufacturer in planning new factories or remodelling
old ones ;
{g) Size preparation ;
(h) The organization of maintenance and cleaning
98. To promote the spreading of productivity standards for different types and sizes of mills, and a sufficient
number of popular products, in order that the manufacturers may have a basis of comparison for the results
obtained in their factories.
99. To stimulate inquiries into the physical and administrative consolidation of small mills, with the object
of creating larger units, especially when plans are under
way for the modernization of a group, or the establishment of new units.
100. To promote the preparation and establishment
of standards for the construction and quality of the
fabrics, which will serve to stimulate the simplification
of the varieties, the standardization of popular products,
and the general raising of the quality of fabrics.
101. To stimulate Latin-American manufacture of
some textile supplies, such as bobbins, shuttles and reeds.
102. To promote scientific research with a view to
developing new types of textile machinery which are
better adapted to the nature of Latin-American industrial resources, that is to say, equipment designed with
more stress on the increase of production per unit of
capital invested rather than on the reduction of labour.
It is likely that small textile machinery factories located in Latin America51 offer good prospects as regards
the improvement of equipment, since the characteristic
features of their production factors—large amount of
labour and little mechanization of their operations—are
conducive to a certain degree of flexibility as regards
frequent changing of the designs.

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